You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards to 22 airline and hotel partners.
It also is my favorite transferable points program for several reasons.
First, American Express regularly offers transfer bonuses of 20-50% throughout the year, which can make some points transfers very valuable.
Second, Membership Rewards can be transferred to some great points programs: ANA Mileage Club, Air Canada Aeroplan, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Virgin Atlantic, and the three Avios airlines (British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Iberia).
How Long Does it Take for Membership Rewards to Transfer?
Below are the transfer times for each airline or hotel points program.
All transfers are one Membership Rewards point to one airline or hotel points except Aeromexico (1 to 1.6), El Al (100 to 2), JetBlue (250 to 200), and Hilton (1 to 2).
|24 to 48 Hours
|Air Canada Aeroplan
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue
|48 to 72 Hours
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
|24 to 48 Hours
|12 to 48 Hours
Which Points Programs Should I Transfer To?
Other recommended programs are:
- Air Canada’s Aeroplan– Aeroplan, similar to ANA, has access to all of the Star Alliance airlines. Aeroplan is usually more expensive points-wise than ANA, but there are some advantages:
- No fuel surcharges on partner airlines.
- One-way flights are allowed.
- You can book travel for a non-family member. (ANA requires a family or marriage relationship)
- Two stopovers on a regular award.
- A cheap infant award fee.
- Virgin Atlantic– Virgin Atlantic has some very good partner awards on ANA, Delta, and Air New Zealand. Plus, American Express offers fairly regular transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic.
- British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus– These three airlines share the same airline currency, Avios, which you can transfer between each account. But each program has different advantages and disadvantages, so you should review each programs’ page, but generally, the best value in these programs is short and direct economy class flights. Plus, American Express offers fairly regular transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic.
- Etihad Guest– Etihad has award charts for each partner, but there are some good deals on American Airlines, ANA, and Royal Air Maroc.
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles– Asia Miles is overly complicated, but there are some good deals on Cathay Pacific’s short-haul flights or if you have a lot of travel time, their OneWorld chart that allows for 5 stopovers.
Frequently Asked Questions
In most cases, you should transfer Membership Rewards to points programs since the Amex Travel Portal only gives you around 1.0 cent per point in value, unlike the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which offers an easy points redemption of 1.5 cents per point.
The one exception is that American Express Business Platinum cardholders can get a 35% rebate, which allows you to book travel for 1.54 cents per point. You would also earn airline points since it would be considered a cash booking as opposed to award booking. Thus, if you hold this card, it may make sense to redeem via the travel portal instead of transferring points if you can find a cheap cash flight.
You cannot reverse or stop a points transfer.
American Express charges a federal excise tax for points transfers to U.S. Airlines (Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue). The cost is 0.06 cents per point, with a maximum cost of $99, so a transfer of 100,000 points would cost $60.
Other programs have no fees to transfer to them.
Not allowed. American Express combines the Membership Rewards points you have earned across all of your Membership Rewards cards, but you cannot transfer these points to another person.
Yes, but the person must be an authorized user on your Membership Rewards card for at least 90 days.